Zorba’s Pizza, which closed its downtown San Mateo location last year (forcing fans to go to Millbrae or South San Francisco for gyros and pizza) is back in San Mateo, this time near Highway 92 and El Camino Real. The menu is the same as when Zorba opened in 1984. It has pizza and Italian classics (veal parmigiana, spaghetti carbonara); Greek standards (moussaka, spanakopita); and casual American classics (jalapeño poppers, bacon cheeseburgers, Philly cheesesteak). Some dishes mix cuisines: The Zorba’s burger has feta cheese and grilled onions. The Greek Isle Pizza has black olives, feta and gyro meat. Pizzas come in five sizes, with thin or thick crusts. Nearly 20 special pizzas are offered, but diners also may design their own pies. The Hot Fiesta – with jalapenos, Tabasco, bell peppers and sausage – is among the most popular pizzas. Although Zorba’s does a big delivery business, diners may want to eat in at this location. The refurbished dining room is quaint and inviting.
1923 South El Camino Real, San Mateo; (650) 344-2020. Zorbaspizza.com
Craft cocktails are everywhere in San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose, but hard to find on the Peninsula. Yet Redwood City’s Blacksmith, replacing The Living Room, is a friendly neighborhood bar serving upscale drinks in a setting reminscent of the Old West. The renovated space, done in black and brown, has leather couches, a brick fireplace and an anvil adorning the saloon. (There are TVs, too, as well as indoor-outdoor counter seating along the sidewalk.) Cocktails, at $11, range from classics (Sazerac) to seasonal drinks such as Cinder & Smoke, with Mezcal, grapefruit, Averna and jalapeño syrup. A dozen beers are on tap and eight wines are poured by the glass. Blacksmith doesn’t have a kitchen, but it serves food prepared by next-door neighbor Downtown Restaurant. Pulled pork sliders, deviled eggs, Hawaiian poke and Dungeness crab fondue are among the bar bites offered.
2048 Broadway, Redwood City; (650) 365-3320
The rapidly growing San Francisco-based creative sandwich chain Ike’s Place now has a café inside Daly City’s Serramonte Center. Ike’s Place boasts over 300 combinations, though the menu mentions about two dozen. Bay Area legends name many of the offerings: The Steph #CurryOne has Ike’s yellow barbecue sauce, provolone and turkey, and the Madison Bumgarner has rib eye beef, American and pepperjack cheese, and habañero peppers. Many of the sandwiches are vegetarian. On the Peninsula, Ike’s has an outlet in San Mateo. Though its Stanford cafe closed, there are plans to open an outlet in Palo Alto.
128 Serramonte Center, Daly City; (650) 993-4755. Ilikeikesplace.com